I am a creature of habit. I tend to order the same drink at a bar, the same meal when I find one I like and watch the same television programs. One of my habits is to enjoy Sunday morning breakfast accompanied by CBS News Sunday Morning on TV.
I look forward to my Sunday morning routine and have, over the years, perfected the preparations, timing and finished product–two eggs “over easy;” a rotation of bacon, sausage, ham, or–now and then, steak–toast and iced tea–that’s right, iced tea. There was a time when, as a true southerner, it was Coca-Cola–never have been a coffee drinker–hot tea, maybe.
CBS News Sunday Morning airs at 9:00 a.m. and, for years before we were able to record programming, I prided myself on sitting down to my hot breakfast ready to eat just as the trumpet sounded.
It all started when Charles Kuralt, created CBS News Sunday Morning, back in 1979. Mr. Kuralt was a fellow Carolinian and a great storyteller. In those days, I watched it live. I had no recording devices. Of course, now with TiVo, timing is not as important. If I want to sleep a little later, or occasionally a lot later, that wonderful little box has me covered.
That brings me to last Sunday. I rolled out of bed at 9:00 a.m.–in no hurry, but, as usual, looking forward to my Sunday bacon and eggs.
Off to the bathroom, and, at the risk of “TMI” (too much information), I discovered the toilet would not flush. Not a great way to start the day.
I’m not a plumber, but knew the problem was the little chain that when the flush handle is pressed down, lifts a valve to release the water. I am convinced that that little chain is manufactured to break at the most inconvenient time. With a pair of pliers, I soon had that one fixed–only a short delay.
Ok–Good–into the kitchen where the night before I had cooked the bacon, and left it there for a quick reheat in the morning. The bacon was heating as I cut a slice of my favorite bread. Down went the toaster handle! So far, so good–not too far behind, and TiVo recording away.
Something wasn’t right, though. The toast had not popped up even though the bacon was ready. A quick look revealed that only one side of the bread was being toasted. The toaster that I’m pretty sure had been in my family for generations, didn’t just “quit,” it only “half-quit.” Considerate, but causing a delay. Bread only toasted on one side would never do!
The second gremlin of my morning had reared its ugly head.
I like my eggs “over easy,” but, before flipping, I like the white on the pan side to have a slightly brown cast and crispy edges. To do this properly, the right pan must be used, and it must be hot–but not too hot. To get it right takes no more than two minutes–during the last thirty seconds or so after flipping. This leaves the yoke ideally runny. This requires my full attention. No stopping to butter bread which had been delayed by half a toaster.
Quick to action, I reversed the bread and restarted the toaster. By now, the pan was hot and ready for the eggs. My timing was off, but I slid the eggs into the pan and quickly buttered the toast that was now light tan on both sides. The eggs were ready for that final flip.
With everything on a warm plate, I headed for my favorite chair with a TV tray. I enjoyed both the breakfast and program. The morning had started off with a glitch or two, but after years of practice, I was able to overcome the obstacles.
By the way, after breakfast, I said goodbye to the toaster with a “thank you” for its years of service. Into the recycle bin it went. Somewhere, someone on a conveyor belt, will probably say, “Look what some fool thinks is recyclable,” and off it will go to the landfill. At least, I hadn’t sent it there.
It’s too easy these days to become an ultimate consumer–just go to the web–which is exactly what I did. A new toaster is on its way. After all, how could I enjoy my Sunday morning breakfast with half-toasted bread?
Of those who may read this, I’m sure there are a few, particularly those with young families, who are saying “If only my early mornings and breakfasts would go that easily.”
Then I bet there are others, like me, who, now and then, would like to find themselves saying, “Ok, who’s ready for more pancakes?”
Keep it up – shots, mask and respect your neighbors. Thanks.
Bill Minus is a storyteller who lives in Chestertown where he writes about memories and observations on life.